Transcript of 30th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sharon Lough, Friday, August 21, 1998 at 10:00 am.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Sharon. How was your week?
Ms. Lough: I heard from my lawyer. Actually, I heard from two lawyers--there must be an open sewer somewhere.
Dr. Balis: What did your attorney say?
Ms. Lough: I'm going to have a preliminary hearing next month. The lab results still haven't come back; they always take forever. I've been doing some research, and I found some interesting information about rye mold on the Internet.
Dr. Balis: Really?
Ms. Lough: I read about a scientist who researched hallucinogenics in the 1930's. He discovered that ergot--the parasitic fungal growth on rye and other grains--had hallucinogenic properties. The chemical composition of rye mold is similar to that of LSD; it contains a naturally occurring form of lysergic acid. A lot of people in the middle ages who were thought to be possessed by demons were most likely experiencing the effects of ingesting ergot, which can cause seizures and visions. During this era, there was much folklore about ergot. The Germans believed it was caused by a demon carried by the wind into their fields.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: In the late 1500's, people began using ergot for medicinal purposes. Midwives used it to ease the pain of childbirth. Ergot alkaloids are used in modern pharmaceuticals, like the migraine medication Cafergot. And I found some interesting things about LSD, too.
Dr. Balis: I hope your interest in this is purely academic.
Ms. Lough: I was always too afraid to try acid. I thought I would end up a drooling idiot in a padded cell.
Dr. Balis: And?
Ms. Lough: Oh, shut up. I'm not quite there yet. I didn't know that LSD is similar in chemical composition to serotonin--the naturally occurring happy pill in your brain. LSD interferes with serotonin's normal action on the brain receptor sites. I didn't understand all the scientific jargon, but it seems that LSD acts on the brain chemistry to produce a dreamlike state in a waking person. With all my drug experimentation, there's so much I still don't know.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: Until just recently, I still believed a lot of the old anti-drug propaganda I learned in high school, like that crap about LSD giving you flashbacks for years afterward. All the acid heads I've met said they didn't have any flashbacks. Disseminating that kind of misinformation is morally wrong, if you ask me.
Dr. Balis: I'm not an expert on LSD, but I can say that it is something of a wild card. It's a highly unstable chemical compound. In its recreational form, LSD is often contaminated with other drugs, such as methamphetamine. LSD is a drug that produces very intense reactions. There are people who find an acid trip an extremely unsettling experience. And considering your recent experience with hallucinogenics, I don't recommend that you experiment with LSD.
Ms. Lough: Don't worry, I'm not going to.
Dr. Balis: You said you've heard from another attorney?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, this abrasive Chinese woman called me on Wednesday. I have to come in and give a deposition. Remember my old landlord? His wife filed for divorce. She's contesting her husband's visitation rights. She said that he sexually abused his kids.
Dr. Balis: Are these the same people who used false sexual abuse allegations to evict you from your apartment?
Ms. Lough: Yeah. Back in November, the wife said that I had inappropriately touched her five-year old son and if I didn't move out immediately, they would press criminal charges. I lost my deposit and most of my possessions.
Dr. Balis: As I recall, you chose not to take any legal actions against them.
Ms. Lough: After I talked to a lawyer, I realized I didn't have a chance.
Dr. Balis: What do you mean by that?
Ms. Lough: I was in a mental hospital last year after attempting suicide. I was in a drug rehab just a few months ago. And I was just arrested under the suspicion of cultivating hallucinogenics. How is that going to stand up in court? I'll be dismissed as a drugged-out nut case. Remember the McMartin Preschool Trial? They were acquitted. The allegations were shown to be fabricated. But the McMartins' entire lives were ruined--they were ostracized in their hometown, and they had their teaching licenses taken away. And what about that Woody Allen case? Mia Farrow accused him of molesting his adopted daughter, Dylan. Woody was acquitted, but that didn't make the front page news.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: Besides, the Pigs--my landlord and his wife--don't have any money. I heard them fighting about money all the time--they were heavily in debt. With three kids and only a crummy building for income, they weren't worth suing.
Dr. Balis: Does the attorney want you to testify in the divorce case?
Ms. Lough: Yes, I think so. The lawyer for my landlord said she needed me to give a deposition.
Dr. Balis: That must be stressful.
Ms. Lough: The enormity of it didn't hit me until I began finding out more information. I should have done research about false molestation claims last year when it happened. I was so busy with moving my things and working long hours, that I just tried to shut it out of my head. There are a lot of web sites devoted to the false sexual abuse accusations. There are even lawyers who specialize in it, and there are support groups for parents--mostly fathers--who are falsely accused.
Dr. Balis: What did you find out?
Ms. Lough: False allegations of sexual abuse are common in divorce cases. When I first heard Mrs. Piggy was divorcing her asshole husband, I felt almost happy for her until I remembered it was she who told me to get out. I couldn't stand her husband. I heard Pig Pen yelling at his wife and kids all the time. I'm sure that was why their son, Kyle, came knocking at my door. I felt sorry for him. I knew how he must have felt--hearing the Pigs screaming at each other reminded me of my home life. I used to spend hours at the library so I wouldn't have to go home.
Dr. Balis: How much time did you spend with Kyle?
Ms. Lough: It sounds like you're accusing me now.
Dr. Balis: No, Sharon, I'm not. I'm trying to get a sense of what your relationship with Kyle was like.
Ms. Lough: I didn't mean to snap. I know I'm projecting. Everything you say makes me sound like a I'm a child molester.
Dr. Balis: I think it would be helpful to talk about your feelings.
Ms. Lough: Kyle came to see me almost every day. He'd be there waiting for me when I got home from work. He wasn't very articulate, I'm not sure if many five-year-olds are. He seemed a little slow for his age.
Dr. Balis: Did you like spending time with Kyle?
Ms. Lough: Even that question sounds prurient, but I know that's not what you mean. I could identify with him. You didn't need a Ph.D. to figure out that this kid had serious problems at home. He was a spaced-out little tyke with a vacant stare, as if he was on Valium. His mother had primitive methods of child care--she used to leave her kids slack-jawed in front of the TV all day.
Dr. Balis: I see.
Ms. Lough: Once, I came home and found the baby wandering around in the street. A toddler in diapers in the middle of the street! I picked her up and took her home. Her mother didn't even know she was gone. Mrs. Piggy was the neighborhood babysitter; she provided day-care to about a dozen kids. She couldn't even keep her own rug rat out of the street, and yet she charged money to take care of other people's children.
Dr. Balis: Was it this incident that made you call CPS?
Ms. Lough: No, it was actually something else. I came home one day and found their cat bleeding and injured at my door. I ran to see if the Mrs. Piggy was home. She wasn't. The apartment reeked of marijuana, and the babysitter was asleep on the couch. When I went back to the apartment, I saw the kids poking and prodding at the cat. I was very upset. I yelled at them to go home. Finally, their pot head babysitter heard me screaming and asked what was wrong. I told her to watch the fucking kids and took the cat to the SPCA.
Dr. Balis: I see. What happened after that?
Ms. Lough: The cat was put to sleep; he was hit by a car.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Lough: The Pigs couldn't even take care of a fucking cat, much less children. They didn't even feed it half the time--that's why it came to my house, I fed it. That's when I decided I'd had enough of their minimalist approach to child-rearing. I called Child Protective Services the next day.
Dr. Balis: And what happened?
Ms. Lough: The CPS operator didn't even care. She said if a child was in an immediate danger, I should call the police. I didn't bother pursuing it. If they don't care about their own kids, why should I? Now I think I should have put up more of a fight.
Dr. Balis: What is your greatest fear about testifying in this case?
Ms. Lough: That they'll use the "nuts and sluts" strategy and say I'm not credible. They'll dig up my sordid past, my involvement with the S&M community, all the guys I slept with. I read an article about a case where a rape victim's gynecological records were subpoenaed--they wanted to see if she had any venereal diseases. What if they ask me about my sexual history at the deposition?
Dr. Balis: You should bring an attorney of your own to the deposition. You can call Legal Aid, they provide legal services at a sliding scale.
Ms. Lough: What if they make me take a polygraph test? I've heard the new tests are almost foolproof. What if I get nervous and fuck up and I'm branded a liar?
Dr. Balis: To my knowledge, you can't be forced to take a polygraph test, and they are not admissible in court. Your lawyer can advise you on this, too.
Ms. Lough: One of the web sites had a list of characteristics of pedophiles. As I read the list, I realized a lot of the terms described me. There were specific things to look for: impulse control problems, substance abuse, history of sexual abuse, obsessive tendencies. I can't remember all of them.
Dr. Balis: It's the father that's being accused, isn't it?
Ms. Lough: Yeah, the wife filed for divorce and used the "abuse excuse" to keep Pig Pen away from her and the piglets.
Dr. Balis: You're not the one being accused in this case. But I'm not an expert in this field. You should talk to an attorney. Your history and personal life may not be an issue.
Ms. Lough: What if the attorney wants to use my testimony to defend Pig Pen? That's sickening. I don't want to defend that piece of shit.
Dr. Balis: You'd just be testifying as to what you saw and heard. That may be as damaging to Pig Pen as it is to his wife. You're a witness, not an advocate.
Ms. Lough: I'd almost forgotten about this. I was really upset when it first happened. I was fuming with hatred for both Pigs for months after the cat incident. I kept thinking of ways I could get revenge.
Dr. Balis: Were you able to work through some of your anger against them?
Ms. Lough: I kept telling myself that their lives were more fucked up than mine. The Pigs were trapped in lower-middle-class hell with two kids, not enough money, and a growing pile of debts. Mrs. Piggy used to be pretty, but she gained over a hundred pounds after having the kids. She was uneducated and had no job skills. She got pregnant as a teenager and was married right away. She didn't have a lot of options. I didn't think she would ever leave Pig Pen, no matter how badly he treated her.
Dr. Balis: Did you witness any domestic violence or abuse?
Ms. Lough: Pig Pen's abuse was verbal not physical, but it was bad enough. He would curse and scream insults at his wife until she broke down crying. He did this in front of the kids. I'd hate to think my testimony would help him secure visitation rights. I wish a nice couple would adopt those kids.
Dr. Balis: I understand your feelings, but there is a limit to what you can do. For now, I want you to focus on your testimony. Talking to an attorney of your own--preferably one with a background in family law--will help you put this in perspective. The relaxation exercises on the tape will help reduce the anxiety and stress you're feeling. You might find it helpful to do the exercises before the deposition.
Ms. Lough: Yeah, I can always lock myself in a bathroom stall and do it there. I'm surprised it really works, and it only takes a few minutes.
Dr. Balis: I realize this is an upsetting event, but we're almost out of time, Sharon. I want to urge you once again to call Legal Aid and find an attorney who has some knowledge of family law. If you feel the need to talk about this some more with me, don't hesitate to call. The service can reach me when I'm not here.
Ms. Lough: Thanks, Doctor Balis.
Dr. Balis: You're welcome. Goodbye, Sharon.
Ms. Lough: Bye.
Arrow, Straight, Left, Earlier Arrow, Straight, Right, Later

Button to Dr. Balis' Notes Doctor Balis' Notes on this Session

Button to Sharon Lough's Transcripts Transcripts of Sharon Lough's Communications
Button to Sharon Lough's Patient File Sharon Lough's Patient File

TCT Bottom Bar Links to Top of Page Pipsqueak Productions © 1998. All Rights Reserved.